2013 Top 12 Countdown: Fire chief hit with racism complaints

NORWALK, Conn. – Today we bring you the second story in our Top 12 countdown – the 12 stories that drew the most page views on this site in in 2013.

Each day, through New Year’s Day, we will rehash one of our most popular stories, along with any updates, with a link to the original story. We will present them in reverse order; we began Saturday, Dec. 21, the 12th most popular, and will work our way to No. 1.

Throughout the holiday season, as official action slows to a crawl, we also will be taking a look back at what we feel were the biggest Norwalk government, school and social service stories of the year, and we’ll take a look ahead at what 2014 may bring.

The 11th best-read NancyOnNorwalk story in 2013 was: Norwalk fire chief defends department’s lack of African Americans.

Early in 2013, growing resentment against the Norwalk Fire Department in the minority community, several people spoke out about what they said as a lack of people of color in the ranks. Fire Chief Denis McCarthy pointed to the lack of candidates and the need to score well on the tests as the reason for the perceived problem, but two retired firefighters who were willing to speak on the record said in an April 23 story that the problem is McCarthy.

One of the retired firefighters, Andre Williams, called McCarthy a racist, and the other, Gregory DeValda, said members of the black community are being told by fellow African-Americans not to apply.

The issue raised its head again this month at the first Mayor’s Night Out under new Mayor Harry Rilling when Williams, vice president of the local NAACP, asked McCarthy to explain why he should have his contract renewed given the drop in the number of black firefighters.

To read the story from April 23, click here.


3 responses to “2013 Top 12 Countdown: Fire chief hit with racism complaints”

  1. RU4REAL

    This was(is)an important story and it is still happening in the department. On his watch this fire chief has set diversity back years to come for the department. It has to change NOW, and it starts at the top. I hope the new mayor sees the problem and addresses it decisively, sooner rather than later.
    If not for NON this story would have never been told since our other local newspaper(reporters)clearly do not have the chutzpah to cover the story objectively.
    Our community thanks you NON and the local branch of the NAACP for making sure this racist nonsense ends.
    There is currently a minority member of the department that is STILL going through issues with this chief, but for fear of retribution(for sure)no one can speak out publicly.
    Please lets all help do the right thing and change the way minorities in our community view OUR fire department.

  2. @RU4Real,
    It is good there is a forum for the skeletons in the closet to come out but please don’t be fooled by NoN objectivity. She is about objective as the sky is wide.
    If Moccia was still in office, she would be writing about this from sun up to sunset but let’s see how far she takes it with Rilling (but knowing Rilling owes the FD for their votes, it won’t be long).

  3. RU4REAL

    What?? Stay on subject please.

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